The presidents are to discuss the situation around Iran, Syria and Ukraine and give significant attention to the bilateral agenda. Following the bilateral consultations, a number of joint documents are to be signed aimed at promoting Russian-French cooperation. This will be followed by a news conference.
The President of France and his wife are in Russia on an official visit. Emmanuel Macron will take part in the St Petersburg International Economic Forum as a guest of honour.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, colleagues, welcome to St Petersburg.
I want to thank you for accepting our invitation and coming to the St Petersburg Forum. We will use this opportunity to have a full-fledged discussion of Russian-French relations.
Our relations are developing despite current difficulties, and our trade is growing. (Addressing Sergey Lavrov.) How much has it grown by?
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: 20 percent.
Vladimir Putin: Twenty and even 25 percent over the past year. It continued to grow in the first months of 2018, as well.
Of course, we will talk about key international issues, which France and Russia are interested in resolving.
President of the French Republic Emmanuelle Macron (retranslated): Thank you, Mr President, dear Vladimir. Many thanks to you and your delegation for having us here in St Petersburg.
Indeed, a year ago, you and I began this intensive exchange at our level between France and Russia. It was at Versailles. A year later – last autumn – I decided to accept your invitation and to come here to St Petersburg. Today, I am glad I did.
Our bilateral relations continue to evolve, and our economic ties grow constantly, which is a positive development. Today, we will sign a number of critically important contracts in various areas. The social forum that we started in Versailles, that is, the Trianon Dialogue, is also functioning. It is a dialogue between our civil societies. It is very active today, which is also positive.
Outside of our bilateral relations, our two countries enjoy a special status, since we are permanent members of the UN Security Council. We have strong and deep historical ties and strong ties in the sphere of international politics. I believe this will help us find solutions and work together in all areas, be it Ukraine, the Middle East, Iran, Syria, or a multilateral approach to international politics as we see it.
I think that we can, indeed, work together and consolidate our efforts in search of joint initiatives.